BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 25, 2014— Yonkers Raceway Friday night hosted the $197,500 Milt Taylor Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings, drawn and quartered.
Odds-on Gabe the Bear Dean (Jordan Stratton, $2.90), leaving from post position No. 4, sat the loosest of pockets in the first ($49,150) division. He then held off Insomniac (Jason Bartlett) by a length in a snappy 1:58.3. They were both watching Commentary (Jim Meittinis) lead through fractions of :29, :58.1 and 1:28.4 before being tackled passing the three-quarters. The leader did easily hold third, as the other three entrants broke.
For “Gabe,” a son of Lucky Chucky co-owned by (trainer) Ray Schnittker and Minix Stable, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $9.80, with the triple returning $71.50.
“It’s the first time I’ve driven him, but I’ve driven enough trotters for Ray (Schnittker) that I know always has them rigged correctly,” Stratton said. “That was a very solid mile (previous life-best was a sloppy 2:03).”
The second ($49,150) had another odds-on number, Mambo Blue Chip (Jeff Gregory, $3.50) do his work from first-up. Unhurried from post No. 2, he moved past a soon-to-break Azucar (Gates Brunet) after that one’s early fractions of :30.4 and 1:01.2.
“Mambo” hit three quarters in 1:31, before finishing his evening in a flat two minutes. He defeated Pier Ho Exotic (John Cummings Jr.) by a half-length, with Titanium (Bartlett) third.
For Mambo Blue Chip, a Lucky Chucky colt trained by Linda Toscano for co-owners Mal and Janet Burroughs, it was his second win in three ’14 tries. The exacta paid $23.20, with the triple returning $58.50.
“He’s reminds me a of tint Budweiser Clydesdale,” Gregory said. “He’s big and strong. Once we were able to get around the first turn, that was my biggest concern. I figured we’d be alright after that.”
The evening’s third ($49,150) statebred sojourn took on a different look when 1-5 fave Wings of Royalty (Chris Lems) jumped it off in the first turn. That left 49-1 Tango Pirate (Truman Gale) giving the longshot legion fan club a shout-out through weight stations of :30.1, 1:00.1 and 1:30.
However, Andy Ray (Brent Holland)—pocketed from post No. 5--closed ranks, then went by early in the lane. He held sway, beating Elusive Action (Bartlett) by a length-and-a-half in a maiden-breaking 2:00.2. Wings of Royalty recovered from his misdeed to finish third, beaten nearly eight lengths.
For “Andy,” a Crazed gelding trained by Erv Miller for co-owners Paymaq Racing, Ronald Michelon and Harvey Eisman, he returned $28.80 (fourth choice) for that first win in a couple of starts (first in NYSS competition). The exacta paid $198.50, with the triple returning $547.
“I baby-raced him (Pocono) and he was alright,” Holland said. “He’s a solid-footed horse and he raced well tonight. I wasn’t worried him getting over the track at all.”
The final ($50,050) sire stakes grouping saw pole-sitting 3-10 choice Royal Deceptor (Mickey McGivern) seemingly with his rivals under control (:29.4, 1:00.2, 1:29.3). He owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, then came down with a case of the staggers.
He was passed late by both Credit Creation (Bartlett) and Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), with the latter on the outside getting the nod by a neck in 1:59.1. Royal Deceptor settled for third, beaten a length.
For third choice Buen Camino, a Cash Hall gelding trained by his driver for Purple Haze Stables, he returned $16.40 for a successful parimutuel debut. The exacta paid $149, with the triple returning $360.
“I was able to get away third (from post No. 4), and he was very comfortable,” Smedshammer said. “The colt on the lead (Royal Deceptor) has been racing well, but turning for home, I thought we had a shot. I was all the way on the outside, and I really wasn’t sure I beat Jason (Barlett, with Credit Creation) until I heard the starter say my number.
“He was supposed to race last week (Tioga), but there was a race office error and we didn’t get in. Since he’s a Cash Hall, we gelded him right away. I’m happy with the way he’s come along.”
Friday night’s pair of $44,000 Open Handicaps—for distaff pacers and all-permitted trotters—were won by Robin Cruiser (Stratton, $5.20) in 1:52.3, and all-age track record holder Quick Deal (George Brennan, $4) in 1:54…fastest local trot mile of the season.
New York Sire Stakes continue Monday night, with the $226,200 Art Watson Pace (3-year-old fillies).
The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.